Downton Abbey, Friday Night Lights And More Surprise At The Emmys

I have to say, last night’s Emmy awards were nothing if a surprise. Unlike this year’s Oscars which you could tell how it was going to turn out months before, tonight’s awards defied expectations and went with some original choices. If you read our predictions earlier, we only guessed a couple right. There were a lot of surprises and upsets and I don’t think anyone saw some of these choices coming.

In terms of the Outstanding Drama Series, it went to Mad Men and the show is now tied with The West Wing for the highest number of consecutive wins in this category: 4. In all honesty, I thought it would go to Boardwalk Empire. HBO’s hit show was an unstoppable behemoth, it trounced competition at the Creative Arts Emmys and I thought it would continue that streak tonight. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Martin Scorsese however, did win in the directing category.

Mad Men was however the deserving winner in its category (unlike some of the others, more of which later). It was the finest drama series this year. Season 4 was incredible and it is a very difficult thing for a TV show to be that good this far into its run.

The writing is still flawless and the characters still rich and textured. But again, I fully expected that tonight the big one would be taken by Boardwalk Empire and that Mad Men would finally get some acting appreciation, but of course, that didn’t happen.

It’s also interesting that Mad Men should win, considering how much Matthew Weiner has been in the press and how much the industry is railing against his massive pay off for completing the show. So, it was actually a pleasant surprise to see the series get recognized.

Comedy Series went to Modern Family, which was again too big to ignore. Out of all the nominees, I think it deserved it the least. It’s a fine show but it’s no masterpiece. However, sticking with Comedy categories, we saw a massive surprise win for Melissa McCarthy in the lead acting category. Many, including myself, thought Laura Linney would take the crown for her dazzling work in The Big C or that Amy Poehler would pull off the upset.

Not so pleasant surprises were wins for Friday Night Lights in the categories where Mad Men should have triumphed. I’m not an avid watcher of the show but have seen enough to know that it’s not my thing. Jason Katims won for Writing for a Drama Series, which clearly should have gone to Matthew Weiner for Mad Men and his masterly episode The Suitcase. And in the same vain, Kyle Chandler winning for Lead Actor in a Drama Series is undeserved, Jon Hamm should have got it.

For me, that was the upset of the entire evening, despite the fact that I was predicting the upset would have been performed by Steve Buscemi, not Chandler. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a decent actor but nothing in Friday Night Lights compares to the complexity of Hamm’s searing performance in Mad Men, which was at its height this year. His submitted episode was The Suitcase and simply put, it was just a damn fine piece of acting from him.

Another upset was Jim Parsons taking the Lead Actor in a Comedy Series over the much loved Steve Carell, who clearly deserved it for his terrific work on The Office. He clearly deserved it having not won before and now that it was his final season, he was almost a dead cert. The Kyle Chandler effect clearly failed him.

In other awards, it was predictable that Julianna Margulies would win Lead Actress in a Drama Series for The Good Wife, but part of me really wanted Mireille Enos to win for The Killing or Elisabeth Moss for Mad Men. While I’ve never watched The Good Wife, I presume it is terrific but can’t really comment.

The big winner in the Miniseries category was Downton Abbey taking Best Miniseries, Best Direction of Miniseries and Best Writing. First of all, every single one of its wins is criminal. The fact of the matter is, no matter how many episodes there are in it, Downton Abbey is a Drama Series. The second season has just started airing in the UK, how they’re going to explain that one is beyond me. And I’m not a fan of this either, you remember Gosford Park? It’s like that only spread over 7 hours.

The hotly tipped favourite Mildred Pierce only walked away with Lead Actress for Kate Winslet and Supporting Actor for Guy Pearce. Deserved wins in my opinion.

Elsewhere in the lead acting category, Barry Pepper won for The Kennedys. The notion of any actor winning anything from that ridiculous bloody show is totally stupid, it was one of the most ham fisted “historical” tales I have ever seen. Incompetent doesn’t quite cover how nauseatingly awful it actually is.

Other winners on the night featured a couple of acting wins for Modern Family, Peter Dinklage triumphing for Game of Thrones in Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and Jon Stewart walking off with a couple of awards.

You can read the full list of winners below.

Outstanding Comedy Series: Modern Family
Outstanding Drama Series: Mad Men
Outstanding Miniseries: Downton Abbey
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries: Kate Winslet for Mildred Pierce
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries: Guy Pearce for Mildred Pierce
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries: Brian Percival for Downton Abbey
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Barry Pepper for The Kennedys
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries: Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries: Julian Fellowes for Downton Abbey
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Kyle Chandler for Friday Night Lights
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series: Boardwalk EmpireMartin Scorsese (Pilot)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Margo Martindale for Justified
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Friday Night LightsJason Katims (Always (Series Finale))
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Saturday Night LiveDon Roy King
Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding Reality Competition Program: The Amazing Race
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Melissa McCarthy for Mike & Molly
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Modern FamilySteven Levitan, Jeffrey Richman (Caught in the Act)
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: Modern Family: Michael Spiller (Halloween)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Ty Burrell for Modern Family
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Julie Bowen for Modern Family.

About the author


Will Chadwick

Will has written for the site since October 2010, he currently studies English Literature and American Studies at the University of Birmingham in the UK. His favourite films include Goodfellas, The Shawshank Redemption and The Godfather and his favourite TV shows are Mad Men, Six Feet Under, The Simpsons and Breaking Bad.